Rafa rules

Published Jun 8, 2019, 6:47 am IST
Updated Jun 8, 2019, 6:47 am IST
Nadal trumps Federer while teenage star Vondrousova books her maiden major final
Rafael Nadal reacts after beating Roger Federer in the men’s singles  semifinal at the French Open in Paris on Friday. 	— AP
 Rafael Nadal reacts after beating Roger Federer in the men’s singles semifinal at the French Open in Paris on Friday. — AP

Paris: Defending champion Rafael Nadal powered past Roger Federer in the French Open semifinals on Friday, to move within one victory of a record-extending 12th Roland Garros title after handing his oldest rival his worst Grand Slam defeat in 11 years.

The 33-year-old produced a masterful performance to get past Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the last four on Court Philippe Chatrier. It will be Nadal’s 12th appearance in the championship match, which he has never lost before.


“It’s incredible to play with Roger here,” said Nadal, adding, “Congratulations to him — to be at his level at 37, it’s incredible. I say thank you to the Parisian fans, because it’s magnificent for me to be in another final.”

The third seed now has an stunning 92-2 win-loss record on the Paris clay, having beaten Federer for the sixth time in as many French Open meetings despite difficult, windy conditions.

Nadal also leads his overall head-to-head against Federer 24-15, and 14-2 on clay after ending a run of five straights losses to the 37-year-old.


A tally of just nine games meant it was Federer’s heaviest defeat in a Grand Slam match since managing only four against Nadal in their famously one-sided 2008 Roland Garros final.

Nadal made only 19 unforced errors, crushing 33 winners as Federer struck 25, although that amount could easily have been doubled against any opponent other than the 11-time champion.

Barty parties on

Meanwhile, Ashleigh Barty and Marketa Vondrousova set-up a women’s singles French Open final showdown, shrugging off a sexism row which had seen their semifinals shifted away from the tournament’s showpiece court.


Barty, 23, reached her first final at the majors, coming back from a set and 0-3 down to defeat 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-3 in a rollercoaster semi-final. Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova also made sure of her place in a maiden final at the Slams by edging out Britain’s Johanna Konta 7-5, 7-6 (7/2).

Vondrousova, 19, is the first teenager to reach a major final in 10 years since Caroline Wozniac-ki at the 2009 US Open and the first at Roland Garros in 12 years.

Saturday’s final will be the youngest final at a Slam since the 2008 Roland Garros championship match when 20-year-old Ana Ivanovic defeated Dinara Safina, 22.